Preliminary results have incumbents keeping seats in GFPS election; library board calls emergency meeting

Preliminary numbers as of 9:30 p.m. May 3, more than 24 hours after polls closed, incumbents have kept their seats on the Great Falls Schools board.

According to preliminary results, with 11,463 ballots processed the results are:

  • Amie Thompson: 7,996
  • Bill Bronson: 7,833
  • Kim Skornogoski: 7,773
  • Rodney Meyers: 3,620
  • Tony Rosales: 3,346

Polls closed at 8 p.m. May 2 and election officials started counting ballots around 9 p.m. They ran ballots through the tabulator machine until about 10:40 p.m., when the machine jammed and election officials spent roughly two hours working on the jam.

At 12:50 a.m., May 3, Julie Bass, an election judge and volunteer, said they were closing up for the night.

County elections officials starting ballot counts

They started packing up ballots to hold overnight and said they’d restart the count at 10 a.m. in the Pacific Steel and Recycling Four Seasons Area.

The count picked up again until about noon on May 3.

The Great Falls Public Library called an emergency meeting for noon May 5, “given the recent issues in the conduct of the elections for the Great Falls Public School, Fort Shaw Irrigation District and the West Side Flood Control and Drainage District.”

According to the library staff, the agenda includes a discussion of election legal strategy and possible board action.

On May 2, there was a delay in opening the polls due to the elections office giving voter registers to GFPS without information about needing the registers back before the polls opened.

Polls opened late for GFPS election due to confusion over voter registers

GFPS Superintendent Tom Moore and Brian Patrick, GFPS business operations director, said they were never given those registers in the past nor were they given instructions on what they were or that they were needed back before polls could open, which was supposed to be at 7 a.m.

The registers have voter information and are where voters sign in during a poll election.

Moore and Patrick said they were called at 7:10 a.m. on May 2 about the registers. Patrick brought the registers to Exhibition Hall around 7:25 a.m.

Merchant told other media outlets that state law required her to send those registers to the school district.

But, multiple sources said state law required the county election office to assume that duty when they ran the election for GFPS, as they did this year and for at least the last decade.

County officials did not respond to a May 2 email asking about legal provisions regarding the voter registers.